I know what you’re thinking… now there’s more than a dozen? Also, I can’t afford to buy organic. And it’s true. Organic foods are expensive. Heck, fresh fruits and veggies are expensive! But to buy them organic as well; you’re crazy.
I’ve been thinking about the topic of the dirty dozen. Which according to the Environmental Working Group, these 12 or so foods have the highest amount of toxins from pesticide residues. Why should you care about pesticides? The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health.
The following “Dirty Dozen Plus” had the highest pesticide load, making them the most important to buy organic versions – or to grow them organically yourself:
7. Sweet bell peppers
8. Nectarines (imported)
10. Cherry tomatoes
11. Snap peas (imported)
Plus these which may contain organophosphate insecticides, which EWG characterizes as “highly toxic” and of special concern:
13. Hot peppers
14. Blueberries (domestic)
Let’s break it down
Staple fruits: Apples, bananas, oranges (or clementines?)
Luxury status: 1= borderline luxurious, 5= Very luxurious
Apples: I thought that an apple an day was suppose to keep the doctor away? Not according to this list! Apples are easy to transport and are a staple in our diet, but buying organic is going to bump the price up significantly.
Strawberries: I rarely buy fresh strawberries already due to their cost. I do buy frozen strawberries for our smoothies, which is much more economical. Strawberries are a very special treat for us in our house! Luxury status = 3
Grapes: These are also a treat for us in the summer, I rarely buy them due to their cost but occasionally do if I’m going on a road trip and want a car snack. When purchasing these fruits in season, the per pound cost is typically not unbearable. But what about purchasing organic? Luxury status = 2
Celery: Actually, I don’t really like this stuff. I only use it in soups or to cook. Its cheap, so buying organic here should not be that much of a jump.
Peaches: Luxury fruit. Oh, sweet, sweet peaches! I wish I could grow you in my back yard and eat you everyday. I buy peaches more often than most luxury fruits because I love them so much. If I only bought them organic though, it would definitely decrease the number of times that I could purchase them. When I do buy them, I get them at the farmers’ market. Luxury status = 4
Spinach: I eat this a lot! This is a staple in our diet. I am typically buying organic, just because that is what is offered at our grocer. Making the conscious decision to always purchase organic will be an easy switch. Luxury status = 2
Sweet bell peppers: I eat these pretty often as well; both raw and cooked. I know that my grocer offers both organic and non-organic. I have purchased both. I’m not sure that there is a big price difference between the two, but I know that the non-organic typically comes in the 6/pack and that the organic typically comes in the 3/pack. The 6/pack is a better bang for your buck, but if I bought 6 organic bell peppers, there’s a possibility that some could go bad before I could utilize them all… maybe? Luxury status = 2
Nectarines: I had to Google this. Come to find out… Oh, sweet, sweet nectarines! I wish I could grow you in my backyard and… 🙂 I do love nectarines. They are in the same family as peaches, and I love them equally. The “Dirty Dozen” list goes from dirtiest to cleanest from top to bottom, so maybe I should just skip peaches entirely & stick to nectarines? They are 3 levels of clean below the peaches! Luxury status = 4
Cucumbers: I eat cucumbers very rarely. I mostly prefer them in my drinks. But, sometimes I add them to our salads. I don’t buy them very often because I don’t see them as a very nutrient dense vegetable. Plus, they make my salad kinda watery! Luxury status = 1
Cherry tomatoes: This is disappointing. Cherry tomatoes are one of my favorite additions to a salad, they are already so expensive! I sometimes buy organic here, but again, the per unit cost is typically the cheapest route. Consciously switching to organic is going to difficult. Luxury status = 2
Snap Peas: See Cherry tomatoes above. I eat them raw & sometimes cooked. Oh, lucky day! Luxury status = 2
Potatoes: This is seems odd to me. I’m not even sure that I’ve noticed organic vs non-organic potatoes in the grocery store. I will have to pay more attention. I have potatoes on hand for quick dinners at home, I will have to see if I’m buying organic or non-organic. Luxury status = 1
If its on this list, I will buy organic! Otherwise, non-organic it is for my fruits & veggies! I’m glad that bananas are not on this list, because I eat them everyday too!